‘Be well’. This is what you hear now at the checkout counter at Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in America. Employees offer this valediction as they hand over the receipt, and it comes across as eerily sincere. In fact, the phrase was so effective at rattling me out of my consumerist stupor that I said it back – ‘Be well as well’ – but it didn’t quite come out the same way. It sounded mangled, faux-British, and for some strange reason I raised my voice at the end, turning it into a question. I left feeling confused.
Rethinking organizational hierarchy, management, and the nature of work with Peter Drucker and Colin Ward
Philosophical anarchism is a defensible position in theory. The only trouble with it is it never works. (Drucker, 2010: 40)
We have to build networks instead of pyramids. (Ward, 2008: 33)
Issue Editors: Tero Karppi, Anu Laukkanen, Mona Mannevuo, Mari Pajala, Tanja Sihvonen
Of all the uses to which the work of Slavoj Žižek has been put in recent years, Ole Bjerg’s new book on poker and its relationship to capitalism is, to my mind, one of the most interesting and productive. While Žižek is familiar fare in film and new media studies, literature and cultural studies, Bjerg brings Žižek’s (1991) re-reading of Lacan’s concepts of the real, the symbolic and the imaginary to the analysis of a simple game which, as players know, turns out to be exceedingly rich and complex.
David Graeber’s 2011 book, Debt: The first 5000 years, has received a great deal of attention in academic, activist, and popular media venues (see Hann, 2012; Kear, 2011; Luban, 2012; Meaney, 2011).* Graeber himself has been credited as instigator and theorist of the Occupy movement (Meaney, 2011); and one of the central goals of Graeber’s book – a crossover book intended for a broad readership – is clearly to support detachment from the sense of moral obligation too many people feel to pay financial de
Freedom and work relate to each other in peculiar ways. Sometimes, they are considered opposites, since it may be only once we get rid of work or have the luxury of a life of leisure that we can be truly free. This was Marx’s view, for whom – at least most of the time – a clear incompatibility existed between the realm of freedom and the realm of labour.
‘Poker is the laboratory of capitalism’. (McDonald, 1950: 23)
When we look at a piece of art, read a piece of literature, watch a film, or listen to a piece of music, it is commonplace to think of these as cultural expressions of the social and historical context in which they are created. Art, literature, film and music are readily recognized as mediums of the Zeitgeist. Poker and other gambling games are rarely thought of in the same fashion. At best, they are considered to be meaningless entertainment, at worst self-destructive vices.
This open issue addresses the question of the (im)possibilities of the commons within contemporary capitalism. It considers the commons within a variety of manifestations, including the Open Software movement, Open Education movement, housing, academia, the arts and art education. The contributions of this issue discuss specific concerns and tensions around capitalist exploitation and commodification of practices of political and creative organizing that go beyond commodification and logics of strategic exchange.